Things have been really rough for me lately and it has been really hard to get any words out that have made any sense has been really hard. Not only that I really felt like I was failing again, I know right failing at recovery! Why not I fail at everything else in life so I may as well fail at mental health recovery.
See this is a little insight into my mind. Another insight is that living is really hard work. That isn’t to say that I don’t want to live I do but living and breathing every day is really hard work. Even saying that makes me feel guilty because I know there are people out there with terminal illnesses that would do anything for another day with their family. I guess that is the difference between physical pain and mental anguish or pain. Physical pain can be measured and it can also be medicated whereas mental pain is invisible and is really like a war raging in your head.
The thing with depression is that it is insidious and once it gets in it can undermine everything you think, feel and know about yourself. An example of this is a message I sent recently:
“I am so sorry for being such a failure to you in everything. I did this degree that is sitting on the wall but I failed as a teacher sure I say that it was the kids, school etc but ultimately I didn’t have what it took, as a daughter to my parents I must be such a disappointment at a time in their lives when the last thing they need is to be helping me out of a huge mess, to you as a wife I have made such a mess of everything and yes you say it is behind us I have read that but it doesn’t stop the fact that this is what sits on me all day every day, as a mother to our kids I couldn’t even carrying them to term when I was pregnant. Sure that was forever ago but it never goes away. I hate feeling like this and I honestly wish that I didn’t or that it would all just go away. I love you all so much and hate how much I have hurt everyone. I am angry with myself and grieving that I just didn’t say something sooner. I am sorry. I am just sad and scared that this feeling will never go away.”
Dramatic much! But truly that is about it my head keeps telling me what a useless, worthless person I am and how much I screw everything up in my life. The thing is that it sometimes hurts so much to be here to see my family, friends, everyone trying so hard to help me and I am trying so hard to get well but here I am still not well. Sure physically, functionally I am doing really well, the problem with this is that the better I am doing physically the worse I am feeling mentally.
Rationally I can sit back and look at that message and reason with it and go through point by point why none of that is true (well some of it might be but perhaps not quite to the levels of hysteria that I have whipped it up to in my head) about the only thing I didn’t say here is that I am a failure as a friend because I am so goddam needy. I can’t drive, so anyone who wants to see me has to come to me, I have stupid panic attacks so that means going out is also difficult seriously I wouldn’t want to be friends with me so why would anyone else! Of course I can logically say that this also isn’t true. Problem with depression is that it can’t be reasoned away with logic or rational self-talk.
Depression is a lot like being caught in the white wash of a dumping wave that has just landed on your head. Your body is being tossed around like a rag doll, everything in you tells you that you need to fight against the water, you need to get your head above water, and if you don’t you will drown. What we know however, is that if you can relax and not fight the water pounding down on you and let the wave take you and just go with it will actually spit you up at the back of the wave in the calm after the white wash has passed.
When I am in that wave or that really dark place at night feeling lonely, useless, unloveable (because I don’t love myself so why would anyone love me), crying silently to myself it is really hard to relax into those feelings and know with certainty that they will pass and that it is just my mind playing tricks. By the time the wave has passed I have convinced myself that all of the darkness is completely true and that the pain is just too much to live with. It isn’t that I want to die it is just that it hurts too much to live. When I can hold my breath long enough under that wave to the still and the quiet I know that I am loved, I know that I am worthy, I know that I have a purpose, I know that I am a good mother/wife/friend/daughter/sister/person. It is just sometimes too hard to hold your breath long enough to surface.
This is where I am at the moment. I am in the white wash tumbling around and around and around. There is nothing anyone can do for me to make it better or any easier the water will settle soon enough. Know that I am trying, I am holding my breath, trusting that I will pop out the back into the calm water.
In the meantime know that my smile is really hiding a truckload of tears and that if I could do anything at all about it to make it all go away I would. What I do know is that telling me to put things into perspective (I know there are people out there worse off than me), or to just be happy or get over it will NOT help in any way. Please don’t think I haven’t tried all these things in fact I have tried them so much that is only contributing to my feelings of failure at recovery!
Here is another great post about how Depression isn’t a choice, Antanika has really nailed it. Antanika and I have very different demons we are trying to run from but the darkness is the same. I don’t know anyone that would choose to feel like this and what scares me most is that I have forgotten what joy is or how to be happy.
If you are wondering how you can help, you can just be there, don’t ask how I’m going but if I want to talk please be there for me. Don’t force me to talk because it has taken weeks to add to this so the words don’t just come together in my head to write they truly aren’t coming together to talk about them. I also don’t want to bore you with I am useless, hopeless etc when we both know that is not really true. Please don’t try to fix this for me because it is something I need to do and I promise I am doing everything I can to win this war raging in my head.
I know that I am surrounded by a lot of love and support. To all of that love and support please know that I am ok (well kinda, sorta drowning not waving) but I am ok, my medical team are aware of where I am at. We have things in place, I am talking to people and I will be ok. I just wanted to be honest with where I am really at and that while things might seem like they are really on the improve on the outside they are, so much that it seems has simply made room for the underlying issues all along that need to be processed through. Like the wave that eventually retreats to the sea leaving the calm water behind we know that in time this darkness will lift and light will be there in its place. In the meantime please just bear with me.